Hi, my name is Grégoire Manhes, I'm a Dancer/Choreographer, Musician/Composer and a Filmmaker ! I studied music and dance in Paris, then I moved to Lyon to enter at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon (CNSMDL) as a Dancer. I began to write the scores of my choreographic works during my studies. The thing that I love the most are the creation processes, I always need to throw myself in new experiences and unknown places. I had the chance to create a lot of collaborative projects and I worked with many versatile artists from different background.
I recently co-founded the Duck-Billed Company, with Eloïse Grastilleur, to share my works and Killing Time is the first movie project of the company !
First of all, Killing Time was a choreographic piece that was presented in theaters. All the research process of the first version was based on one idea : How to bring the cinematographic in a scenic dispositive ? So I decided to create a piece as a homage to one of my all time favorite directors, Alfred Hitchcock, and every element of the work from the music to the set design was created in a cinematographic way.
Then, I had the idea to reverse the process. Because I wished to work as a movie director and as a score composer, what will happen if we put all the material we created in a real cinematographic setting ? Does everything will still be working ? Had we really found a cinematographic aspect in this piece ? So I decided to make a movie version of Killing Time. We played with all the cinema's tools to give to all that we have created before a new life and new perspectives.
It was my first movie experience so every step was a discovery. However, I had a really precise vision of what I wanted to do, but the thing is that I didn't knew how to do it ! So I began the process by transposing all my piece in a big storyboard to clarify my ideas for my team mates. It was very homemade but hopefully, I had a great team who was so efficient, creative and everyone of them followed me blindly in this experience.
Then we had 15 days to shot this 57min movie ! It was really intense but so interesting. Now that we had cameras, I really felt that my work was taking an all new direction but in the best way I could imagine. During those two weeks, we were like children playing with new toys. We were also very efficient because all the choreographic material was already existing, we « just had to » transpose it in the new setting and think about how to film every element in the best way. Because it's an homage to Hitchcock, we played a lot with the 50's black & white esthetic and all the clichés of suspense cinema from this period. We shot all the film during the night so we were rehearsing with the dancers during the day and shooting with everybody when the sun was gone.
I had a lot of fun realizing Killing Time and I really want to thank all my amazing team for following me in this crazy experience !
To be honest, we didn't know at all how the movie will be receive. We felt that we were proposing something atypical. I didn't make this film to invent a concept, I was just thinking my work in this way. And because I'm the director/choreographer/composer and that all my team trusted me at 100%, this was probably the most personal work that I've ever done. So it was impossible and a bit scary to imagine how people will react to Killing Time.
Our usual public is mostly a dance audience. So for them it was really surprising to see that we didn't realize a video-dance but a real medium length movie ! Killing Time is a suspense silent film with actors that express themselves by dancing so the concept was making a lot of people skeptical. How a dancer can realize a real movie without any experience ? But when they saw the final result, they were surprised by the alchemy between dance, cinema, music and were really excited by this experience. It was also surprising for a cinema audience because they were not use to see the using of dance like this in a movie. We really made an association between two different worlds and for me it's a beautiful meeting.
We had the honor to win the « Best Experimental Film » from the 1st Monthly Film Festival and many selections from dance or movie festivals all over the world. So we feel lucky to have such a warm welcome and so many good feedbacks from people with different background. Our biggest dream is to share Killing Time to different audiences, to arrive to create a new gate between Dance and Cinema. We hope that this award is the beginning of a beautiful journey and that our film will inspire dancers, composers and film makers around the world !
I personally loved to be a filmmaker and all the possibilities that offer a movie creation. So I wish to continue my cinematographic experiences and continue to explore the relation between dance, narration, music and cinema. The movie making will be part of my company activities for sure. Looking forward to share to you a new dancing film !